Intense, emotional, and at times, darkly humorous, ‘Keep the Coals Alive’ comes four months after Lights On Why first being unveiled. However, this EP is hardly an inexperienced bands rushed first offering: with a collection of songs written over several years during lead singer/songwriter Braxton Wittenburgs time in Manhattan, Seattle, Denver, Austin, and New Zealand. Keep The Coals Alive is smart and multi-dimensional while still managing to keep a rock edge.
With layers of heavy guitar, orchestral swells, and vocal explosions in songs such as Paint by Numbers to the more pop-inspired works like Bottling India, which combines the vocals of Jeni Wren and Wittenburg to excellent effect, Keep the Coals Alive is conversational and sophisticated without being pretentious. It reflects artists like Conor Oberst, The Cure and Radiohead. Despite these different influences, it is still a well-crafted, hook-laden rock album that will appeal to critics and rock and indie fans alike.
Lights On Why’s ‘Keep the Coals Alive’ is humor in the chaos. The band, becoming well-known in the Seattle scene for their high energy live shows, has managed to establish a following in a relatively short period with the wide emotional range in its songs, from moody to ecstatic, and its straight-forward, almost aggressive take on atheism, wanderlust, self-doubt, friendship and loss. By combining this, along with the strong musical background of the band, Wittenburg, formerly of Flowers Bloom at Midnight, Jeni Wren a classically trained pianist and jazz player, and Bryce Esses, riff-heavy lead guitarist, the band unites to create a unique sound while also keeping tongue firmly in cheek with titles such as Debt to a Librarian.
This album combines optimism and pessimism well. With cheerful beats, upbeat voices and catchy choruses, you can miss the word play and emotion in between. Even so, this is the album you will always crave after a bad day.